After an intense cold system from the north dumped inches of precipitation on Rim Country over the weekend, the week’s weather now calls for increasing temperatures.
The fluctuations in temperature and storms keep people on their toes figuring out what to wear.
“This time of year cold systems from the north bring snowfall to the lower elevations,” said Robert Bohlin, one of 13 meteorologists from the Flagstaff National Weather Service (NOAA) office, “If you’d look at the weather from last Saturday to the next Saturday, the atmospheric pressure continually changes creating different weather.”
Bohlin said a high pressure ridge passing over the Rim Country this week will increase temperatures daily.
However, the meteorologist cautioned that it is not unusual to have winter storms through April. Flagstaff has once had an April snow dump of 18 inches.
The Flagstaff NOAA website (www.nws.noaa.gov/flagstaff) has historical data to back up his point.
Going back 29 years, the winter months of January, February and March average over two inches of wetness every year in Rim Country.
However, by March 10 this year, the Rim Country has already seen 2.3 inches in precipitation, only four one hundredths short of the average.
With an extremely wet January and so far a wet March, the winter months this year have given Rim Country four percent more moisture than normal.
Good news for wildflowers because a wet winter equals a great show of desert blooms.
Already botanical gardens and parks report flowers beginning to emerge. (Check out the Desert Botanical Garden’s wildflower information Web site at www.dbg.org/ gardening-horticulture/wildflower-infosite)
Down in the Tucson area, the Arizona-Sonora Botanical Museum reports Parry’s penstemon, brittlebush, fleabane and fairy duster blooming throughout the park.
Unfortunately, the Tucson mountains have not started blooming yet.
At the Patagonia State Park the yellow poppies have just started showing up.
Nearby at the Tonto National Monument, Desert Botanical Garden, and the Glendale Xeriscape Botanical Garden, the blooms have not started showing up.
But at the Lake Pleasant Regional Park the perennials and groundcover are blooming.
“This is an excellent start of a great year for flowers,” said park officials.
With the official start of spring around the corner, look out for a great wildflower season in Rim Country.